The Trans Youth Forum report was launched today (31.03.2016) by Senator Jillian van Turnhout to mark International Transgender Day of Visibility. The report documents the findings from the first Trans Youth Forum in Ireland that was held July 15th 2015 and included 55 participants between the ages of 14-25 years of age. The Forum was a joint partnership between BelonG To Youth Services, Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and the Irish Transgender Student Alliance (ITSA) and was funded by Trinity College Dublin Equality Fund.
The Trans Youth Forum was the first time that this many trans young people were able to come together to discuss their experiences. It is a historic report because it represents the views of young trans people about their own lives, rather than the views of others about young trans people.
BeLonG To, TENI and ITSA used the launch of the report to call on the Government to improve healthcare, education and legal recognition for trans young people. In particular we called for a review of the Gender Recognition Act to allow those under 18 years of age - including non-binary and intersex people - to have their gender legally recognised.
In BeLonG To LGBT youth groups in Dublin and nationally we see firsthand the extreme isolation and vulnerability that trans young people and their families experience. Young people often face numerous barriers around recognition of their true gender such as use of their correct pronouns, access to appropriate bathrooms and wearing suitable school uniforms. . BeLonG To has worked with schools who have supported Trans students and the results for young people are hugely positive for their health, wellbeing and development. We are calling on schools and youth groups all over Ireland to follow their lead and take steps to create welcoming and inclusive space for all young people.
Trans young people are coming out at a much younger age now and in much higher numbers. They and their families need recognition and support. The LGBTIreland report published last week showed how transphobic bullying and prejudice leads to high levels of anxiety, depression, self harm and even suicide amongst young trans and intersex people. However we also know that this is solvable. We can change this with our outreach work with schools, youth groups and others working with young people and with peer support and well-being workshops available through trans youth groups.
The Gender Recognition Act was an incredible step forward for the trans community in Ireland. But we're not done. BeLonG To will be actively campaigning with TENI and other allies to ensure that trans young people must be protected and their rights must be enshrined.
We would like to thank the authors of the report: Peter Dunne and Cearbhall Turraoin. We would also like to extend are appreciation to the Trans Youth Organising Committee and all the young people who participated in this event.
The Trans Youth Forum report is available here.
IndividualiTy is Europe’s oldest transgender youth support group, which was founded in 2007 and which has been signalled out for international recognition .